Fighting On – Deck Ideas for a New Format!
Hello PokeBeach readers, I’m delighted to bring you another article today! It has been such a pleasurable experience writing for such a prestigious and highly-viewed website; I’ve really improved so much as a writer in just these first few articles. Reading about all the strategies, tips, and ideas my colleagues have invested into their articles has already improved my game too.
If you haven’t yet, you should take the time to subscribe! It’s not about being able to read this one article – that’s such a small part of it all! Being a subscriber on the ‘Beach means access to a host of top-notch premium content, as well as access to the minds of many great players through the Subscriber’s Secret Hideout forum. These articles and the hideout service are such an invaluable resource for anyone looking to improve their game – and quickly! So don’t miss out any longer!
I could not be more excited for Roaring Skies. There are a ton of interesting possibilities and the format should remain fresh and unique through Spring Regionals, U.S. Nationals, and Worlds. Even though I had no qualms with the previous format, I think this set will shake up things in a huge way, as it brings so many interesting cards to the format and also partners well with cards from previous sets. A card whose power was underwhelming in an old format may find a place in the Roaring Skies metagame, while newly-printed cards will rekindle strategies of previous formats. Andrew Mahone did a fantastic job covering some new decks that will come out of Roaring Skies in his article, so make sure to check out what he had to say!
But for this article, allow me to expand on the lesser-known opportunities that Roaring Skies has to offer! I’ll be talking about two cards that should see significant play in this new format: Wobbuffet and Absol.
Wobbuffet has a lot of potential because of its ability to shut down powerful Abilities like Shaymin-EX‘s “Set Up” and Jirachi-EX‘s “Stellar Guidance.” These Abilities are essential for many decks to get their proper setups and shutting them down can mean a fairly easy win. The deck centering around Wobbuffet will be a very unique and powerful twist on what many think will be a dominating force in the upcoming format: Primal Groudon-EX / Wobbuffet. And I’ll be talking about that deck in detail for this article!
Damage manipulation has been an important strategy throughout the Pokemon TCG’s history, and the newly printed Absol continues on this trend. The ability to control where damage goes has always been strong and I believe that an Ability like Absol’s has incredible potential. Partner Absol with heavy hitters like Landorus-EX and Hawlucha and we have a seriously formidable deck. And I’ll be discussing that deck in detail as well!
Becoming a Great Player
Before we get to the decks, I wanted to take the time to discuss what it means to be a great player. Over the years, I have thought about what separates the good from the great. What might make a player great to me might not make them great to you, which is totally fine. I feel I have interacted with a ton of good players in my time playing this game. For me, good players have strong in-game skill and make the optimal play almost all the time. Good players have the ability to construct or borrow a deck and pilot it to a solid finish.
However, there are a select few players that stand out to me as being great. Their greatness, in my opinion, stems from their deck building. These great players not only have incredible in-game skill, but they meticulously test their deck to ensure that they have the perfect 60 card list. Their deck lists are like works of art and every brushstroke is there for a reason, and when combined, create a full picture. You’ll rarely hear a great player say something like “I just threw two Enhanced Hammer in my list because I didn’t know what to do with those slots,” or “For the tournament today, I’m trying out Super Scoop Up in my deck.” Great players deck build with purpose. Some players come up with original ideas, while other players perfect a list that was inspired by someone else’s testing. Either way, great players figure out the perfect combination of cards.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with borrowing ideas. That is what I hope you will do with the lists in this article. Take these lists and test until you have the exact 60 card deck that you want. To be great, one has to improve a deck so that the finished product is the best combination of available cards. The following lists are not perfect (new lists never are) and will need some time investment to make them true forces in the metagame. However, these lists should provide a great starting point for you and should, at the very least, give you some ideas that you may not have thought about. The fun lies in perfecting the card selection!
Groudon / Wobbuffet
The main idea behind this deck is to start Wobbuffet while setting up a couple Primal Groudon-EX on the Bench. Wobbuffet is used to take a few hits while shutting down your opponent’s Abilities. Once the Primal Groudon-EX has enough Energy attached, it’s time to start swinging through your opponent’s field. A Primal Groudon-EX rarely goes down in one hit, so you likely will be able to take three to four Prizes with one EX. Here’s our starting list:
2x Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (PRC #133)
1x Professor Juniper (PLB #84)
1x Lysandre's Trump Card (PHF #99)
4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)
2x Professor's Letter (TKXY #24)
1x Red Card
If you were to input this in the Pokemon TCG Online, you’d get a message saying “Your deck has an incomplete Evolution line. Are you sure you’d like to save?” Of course! Playing incomplete Evolution chains with the intent to play the Evolution with help from a Supporter is nothing groundbreaking. Many decks in the previous format have utilized Archie's Ace in the Hole to get out supporting Pokemon such as Empoleon and Swampert. There were even some decks during State Championships that were dependent on being able to Archie’s for a Blastoise.
There is no such love for Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. There are a number of solid Water Pokemon with excellent Abilities that help decks speed up. However, Fighting-type Pokemon aren’t so lucky. Fighting Pokemon are stereotyped as being heavy-hitters with high damage attacks. Usually, these Pokemon aren’t prime targets with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick because we have a lot of other Pokemon that can hit hard with less set up. There are few Abilities on Fighting Pokemon and even fewer that are worthy of using your only Supporter for the turn to get them out. Sure, there’s Machamp, but how useful is an extra 20 damage per turn when we have damage modifiers such as Muscle Band, Fighting Stadium, and Strong Energy? Archeops is probably the one Pokemon that has been considered the obvious partner with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. However, because Archeops has been rotated out of the Standard format, this is a concept that is only possible in Expanded.
But I’m going to give Maxie his time to shine in Standard! I will now go into why Maxie is such a great card in Primal Groudon-EX, and why I think many top-level Groudon decks will take on this style in the future. I’ll also go in-depth in how each card in the deck interacts with Maxie, giving you all the knowledge you need to play the deck to its fullest potential! Then, I’ll talk about the Landorus / Absol deck I’ve been testing a lot recently. These two Pokemon combo very well together and I feel the deck is going to be a big contender at upcoming tournaments. And you’ll learn about both decks and how to use them way before everyone else! So are you ready to improve your game right here and right now?
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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